Tree pose (vrksasana) is one of my favorite poses. Not only is it beneficial for building stronger bones to prevent osteoporosis (something I am at risk for) and for increasing balance, it’s a great personal barometer for me of just how mentally present and focused I am in any given moment.
The days when my mind is truly present and I am in my body, I can hold this pose for long periods. I feel stable and grounded and at peace. The days when my mind is more like a drunken monkey running in circles and pulling me out of the present moment, I am lucky to get into the pose for more than a few moments before I begin looking more like a tree in a bad windstorm as I fight for balance. I tend to wind up feeling frustrated, uncentered, and anxious.
For me, this pose is a great metaphor for life in general. When I am truly present and focused, I find that life easily falls into balance. Work and play, effort and rest, self-care and other-care all find appropriate balance in my life, and this leaves me feeling grounded, stable, and at peace. Life flows so much more easily when I’m in that space.
When I an unfocused, spending my mental energy in the past or the future, or focused on something that is outside of my circle of control, life doesn’t work as well for me. Just like with tree pose on a distracted day, I quickly become frustrated, anxious, and uncentered. There’s no peace to be found. In those moments, tree pose becomes my greatest teacher.
A good life is all about balance, and tree pose helps to show me the way to finding it.